Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Salvador


By Kristy Tolley

Salvador, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, is a vibrant city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From its stunning colonial architecture to its beautiful beaches and vibrant street markets, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this bustling city.

One of the city’s most iconic attractions is the Pelourinho, a historic neighborhood that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, visitors can wander the colorful streets lined with beautifully preserved colonial buildings, stop by local art galleries and museums, and enjoy the lively atmosphere created by street performers and musicians.

Another must-see attraction in Salvador is the Elevador Lacerda, a popular landmark that connects the upper and lower parts of the city. This Art Deco elevator offers breathtaking views of the city and its bay, and is a great way to get to the famous Mercado Modelo, a bustling market where visitors can find everything from local crafts and artwork to spices and traditional Bahian cuisine.

For those seeking natural beauty, a visit to the beaches of Salvador is a must. Porto da Barra Beach, one of the city’s most popular beaches, offers crystal clear waters and soft white sand, perfect for sunbathing or taking a refreshing dip. Nearby beaches like Flamengo Beach and Itapuã Beach are also worth exploring, with their stunning landscapes and calm waters.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply relaxing on the beach, Salvador has something to offer every type of traveler. With its rich heritage and vibrant atmosphere, this city is truly a top-rated destination for tourists from around the world.

Historic Center of Salvador

The Historic Center of Salvador, also known as Pelourinho, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Salvador. It is a vibrant neighborhood that showcases the rich history and culture of the city.

With its narrow colonial streets, colorful buildings, and beautifully preserved architecture, the Historic Center of Salvador is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. The area is home to numerous historic landmarks, including churches, museums, and colonial mansions.

One of the highlights of the Historic Center is the São Francisco Church and Convent. This 18th-century church is renowned for its exquisitely decorated interior, covered in gold leaf and adorned with intricate woodwork. The church is a true masterpiece of Brazilian Baroque architecture and is a must-see for visitors to Salvador.

Another notable attraction in the Historic Center is the Salvador City Museum. Housed in a former colonial mansion, the museum offers an insight into the city’s history through its impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits. Visitors can learn about Salvador’s role in the slave trade, its Afro-Brazilian culture, and its importance in the development of Brazil as a nation.

The Historic Center is also known for its lively atmosphere, especially in the evening. Visitors can enjoy live music performances, traditional dance shows, and street art displays. The neighborhood’s streets are lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops, offering visitors a chance to savor the local cuisine and purchase unique handicrafts.

Exploring the Historic Center of Salvador is like stepping back in time. Its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage make it a fascinating destination for history buffs and anyone interested in immersing themselves in the vibrant culture of Salvador.

Overall, the Historic Center of Salvador is a must-visit attraction that offers a unique glimpse into the city’s past and present. Its colonial charm, cultural richness, and lively atmosphere make it an unforgettable experience for all who visit.


Pelourinho is the historic center of Salvador and is known for its colorful colonial buildings and rich cultural heritage. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the best-preserved colonial sites in Latin America.

Walking through the narrow cobblestone streets of Pelourinho, you will find beautiful baroque churches, vibrant squares, and charming cafes. The area is also home to many art galleries, museums, and cultural centers.

One of the main attractions in Pelourinho is the São Francisco Church and Convent, famous for its opulent interior filled with gold-covered woodwork and beautiful religious artwork. Another must-see is the Afro-Brazilian Museum, which showcases the influence of African culture on Brazilian history and society.

Pelourinho is also known for its lively music and dance scene. You can catch a traditional capoeira performance or listen to live samba and bossa nova music in one of the many bars and restaurants in the area.

During Carnival, Pelourinho transforms into a vibrant celebration of music, dance, and culture. The streets are filled with colorful costumes, drumming groups, and lively parades.

Visiting Pelourinho is like stepping back in time and experiencing the rich history and cultural diversity of Salvador. Whether you’re interested in history, art, music, or simply soaking up the vibrant atmosphere, Pelourinho is a must-visit destination.

Mercado Modelo

The Mercado Modelo, located in the heart of Salvador, is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the vibrant culture and flavors of the city. This historical market has been a hub for locals and visitors alike for over a century.

Inside the Mercado Modelo, you’ll find a wide array of traditional arts, crafts, souvenirs, and local products. The market’s stalls are filled with colorful handmade items such as jewelry, clothing, woodwork, and ceramics. It’s the perfect place to find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts to take home.

As you explore the market, you’ll also encounter many vendors selling delicious local food and drinks. From fresh fruits and savory snacks to traditional Bahian dishes, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Be sure to try the acarajé, a popular street food made from black-eyed pea dough, deep-fried, and filled with shrimp, vatapá (a shrimp and peanut sauce), and other tasty toppings.

In addition to its shopping and dining opportunities, the Mercado Modelo offers a glimpse into Salvador’s history. The building itself is a former slave market, and visitors can learn about the city’s past through the various exhibits and displays.

Opening Hours Monday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm
Sunday Closed
Address Praça Visconde de Cayru, s/n – Comércio, Salvador – BA, 40015-975, Brazil
Contact +55 71 3266-1267

Whether you’re interested in shopping for souvenirs, sampling local cuisine, or learning about the city’s history, the Mercado Modelo offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors to Salvador.

Elevador Lacerda

The Elevador Lacerda is one of Salvador’s most iconic tourist attractions. This historic elevator is not only a means of transportation but also a symbol of the city’s rich heritage. The elevator connects the upper and lower parts of Salvador, making it easier for locals and tourists to navigate the hilly terrain.

Constructed in 1873, the Elevador Lacerda has become a significant landmark and an architectural treasure. The Art Nouveau-style structure stands at a height of 72 meters and provides breathtaking views of Salvador’s picturesque skyline and the scenic Bay of All Saints.

The elevator consists of two cabins that can each hold up to 28 passengers. As the elevator ascends or descends, visitors can marvel at the intricate ironwork and beautiful stained glass windows that adorn the cabins’ interiors. The ride itself is short but exhilarating, offering a unique perspective of the city.

Once at the top, visitors can explore the Mercado Modelo, a bustling market where they can find a wide range of handcrafted goods, local products, and traditional cuisine. The market is a perfect place to immerse oneself in the vibrant culture of Salvador.

In addition to its transportation function, the Elevador Lacerda has also served as a cultural and social meeting place throughout its history. It has been the backdrop for various events and celebrations, making it an integral part of Salvador’s identity.

A visit to Salvador would be incomplete without a trip on the Elevador Lacerda. Whether you’re looking for panoramic views, a convenient way to get around the city, or a glimpse into Salvador’s past, this architectural masterpiece is a must-see attraction.

Address Praça Tomé de Sousa, s/n – Comércio, Salvador – BA, 40015-900, Brazil
Opening Hours Monday to Saturday: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday and Holidays 8:00 am – 7:00 pm

São Francisco Church and Convent

The São Francisco Church and Convent is one of the most iconic landmarks in Salvador, Brazil. Built in the 18th century, it is a stunning example of Baroque architecture and is considered one of the most important historical and cultural sites in the city.

The church’s façade is richly decorated with intricate stone carvings, sculptures, and ornamental details. The interior is equally impressive, with beautifully painted ceilings, gold leaf decorations, and colorful azulejo tiles that tell biblical stories.

One of the main highlights of the São Francisco Church and Convent is the Golden Chapel. This small chapel is completely covered in gold leaf and features stunning woodwork and elaborate decorations. It is a true work of art and is said to be one of the most opulent chapels in the world.

Visitors can also explore the convent, which houses a museum dedicated to religious art and artifacts. The museum exhibits a collection of sacred items, including paintings, statues, and religious garments. It offers a fascinating insight into the history and culture of Salvador.

Located in the historic Pelourinho district, the São Francisco Church and Convent is easily accessible and is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture. The beautiful architecture and rich history of this site make it a must-see for tourists in Salvador.

Salvador Beaches

Salvador, the capital city of the Bahia state in Brazil, is known for its stunning beaches. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up the sun or want to enjoy water sports and beach activities, Salvador has something for everyone.

Praia do Farol da Barra is one of the most popular beaches in Salvador. Located near the famous Barra Lighthouse, this beach offers beautiful views of the ocean and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. It also has a lively atmosphere with beachside bars and restaurants.

Praia do Flamengo is another must-visit beach in Salvador. With its pristine white sand and crystal clear waters, it’s a paradise for beach lovers. This beach is less crowded than some of the others and is a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll along the shore.

If you’re looking for a beach with more adventure, Praia do Porto da Barra is the place to go. This beach is known for its great waves and is popular among surfers. It’s also a great spot for snorkeling and diving, as it has an abundance of marine life.

For a more tranquil beach experience, Praia de Itapuã is the perfect choice. Surrounded by coconut trees and with its calm waves, it’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. It’s also known for its beautiful sunsets, so make sure to stay until the evening.

Salvador’s beaches offer not only natural beauty but also a vibrant atmosphere with beach bars, street vendors, and live music. So whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a lively beach scene, you’ll find it all in Salvador.

Farol da Barra

The Farol da Barra, or Barra Lighthouse, is a historic landmark in Salvador. Located at the entrance to the Baía de Todos os Santos, this lighthouse has been guiding ships since it was first built in 1698. It was originally constructed as a wooden watchtower and was later rebuilt using stone in the 19th century.

The lighthouse stands at the tip of the Barra peninsula, offering stunning panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding coastline. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy breathtaking views of the sunset. The vantage point also provides a great opportunity for spotting dolphins and other marine wildlife.

Aside from its function as a navigation aid, the Farol da Barra has also become a popular tourist attraction. Its location near the beach and vibrant neighborhood makes it a hub of activity. The area surrounding the lighthouse is filled with restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops, as well as a bustling promenade lined with palm trees.

The lighthouse is also associated with the Carnival festivities in Salvador. Every year, the Barra neighborhood becomes one of the main circuits for the city’s famous Carnival parade. Thousands of locals and tourists gather around the lighthouse to watch the parade and celebrate this lively and colorful event.

Visiting the Farol da Barra is a must for anyone exploring Salvador. Whether you’re interested in the history of the lighthouse, want to enjoy stunning views, or simply want to soak up the lively atmosphere of the Barra neighborhood, the Farol da Barra has something for everyone.

Itapuã Lighthouse

The Itapuã Lighthouse is a historic landmark located in the neighborhood of Itapuã in Salvador, Brazil. Built in the early 19th century, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country. With its picturesque setting on a rocky cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the lighthouse offers stunning panoramic views of the coast and the surrounding area.

The lighthouse has played an important role in guiding ships and boats in and out of the port of Salvador for many years. Its powerful beam of light and distinctive red and white stripes make it easily recognizable from a distance. Visitors can still see the original Fresnel lens, which was used to focus and amplify the light, inside the lighthouse.

Today, the Itapuã Lighthouse is open to the public, allowing visitors to climb to the top and enjoy the breathtaking views. From the observation deck, you can see the beautiful Itapuã Beach, with its golden sand and crystal-clear waters. On a clear day, you can even spot the famous Farol da Barra, another iconic lighthouse in Salvador, in the distance.

Surrounding the lighthouse, you will find a tranquil garden area with benches, perfect for relaxation and picnics. The area is also home to some local cafes and restaurants, where you can indulge in delicious seafood and traditional Bahian cuisine.

If you’re interested in history and maritime heritage, a visit to the Itapuã Lighthouse is a must-do when in Salvador. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about the city’s maritime history, enjoy stunning views, and experience the beauty of Itapuã.

Bonfim Church

The Bonfim Church, officially known as the Basilica of Our Lord of Bonfim, is one of Salvador’s most iconic and popular attractions. Located in the neighborhood of Bonfim, it is a significant religious and cultural site in the city.

The church is famous for its symbolic colorful ribbons, known as “fitas,” that are tied to the protective railings surrounding the church. These ribbons represent wishes and prayers, and it is believed that tying them will bring good luck and protection from evil spirits.

Visitors can participate in the tradition of tying the ribbons while making a wish or saying a prayer. The vibrant ribbons create a beautiful spectacle, adding to the charm and character of the church.

Inside the church, visitors can admire stunning religious artifacts and artwork. The main altar features a statue of Jesus Christ, known as “Senhor do Bonfim,” which is believed to have miraculous powers and is venerated by many devotees.

One of the highlights of visiting Bonfim Church is the “washing of the steps” ceremony that takes place every Thursday. Devotees gather to wash the steps of the church with scented water, believed to cleanse and purify the soul.

The church also hosts festivals and processions throughout the year, with the most famous being the Festa do Bonfim. This festival attracts thousands of pilgrims who come to pay their respects and participate in the religious celebrations.

In addition to its religious significance, Bonfim Church offers breathtaking panoramic views of Salvador from its hilltop location. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals to enjoy the scenery and take memorable photographs.

Overall, the Bonfim Church is a must-visit attraction in Salvador, offering a mix of religious devotion, cultural traditions, and scenic beauty. It provides a unique insight into the city’s history and spiritual heritage.

Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra

Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra, also known as Farol da Barra, is one of the oldest forts in Brazil and a popular tourist attraction in Salvador. Located at the entrance of the All Saints Bay, this historic fort offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding coastline.

The construction of Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra dates back to the early 16th century, making it a remarkable landmark with deep historical significance. It was built to defend the city and its valuable port from invasions by foreign powers and pirates.

Visitors to Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra can explore the fort’s well-preserved cannons, old military quarters, and a small museum showcasing artifacts and historical documents related to the fort’s history. The highlight of the fort is the iconic lighthouse, which stands tall and offers panoramic views of the city.

Aside from its historical and architectural significance, Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra is also a favorite spot for locals and tourists to enjoy the sunset. The fort’s location provides an ideal setting for a relaxing evening, where visitors can watch the sun dip below the horizon and witness a stunning display of colors.

Additionally, the fort is situated near Porto da Barra Beach, one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Salvador. Visitors can combine a visit to the fort with a day of sun, sand, and sea.

To fully appreciate the beauty and historical importance of Salvador, a trip to Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra is a must. Whether you are interested in history, architecture, or simply want to catch a glimpse of a stunning coastal panorama, this fort is definitely worth a visit.

Solar do Unhão

Solar do Unhão is a historic estate located on the waterfront of Salvador. Originally built in the 17th century, it has been beautifully restored and converted into a cultural center and art museum.

The estate is situated on the lovely Baía de Todos os Santos, providing stunning views of the bay and the surrounding area. It is surrounded by lush gardens and offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Inside the estate, visitors can explore various art galleries showcasing both local and international artists. The museum displays a wide range of contemporary and modern art, including paintings, sculptures, and installations.

In addition to the art galleries, Solar do Unhão also hosts regular events and cultural activities, such as concerts, film screenings, and workshops. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant arts scene of Salvador and engage with local artists and creatives.

One of the highlights of the estate is the Cervejaria Madre Maria, a craft beer bar and restaurant located within the premises. Here, visitors can enjoy a wide selection of local and international beers, as well as delicious food made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or just looking for a peaceful retreat, Solar do Unhão is a must-visit attraction in Salvador. It offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a truly special place to explore.

Carnival in Salvador

Salvador is famous for hosting one of the largest and most vibrant carnivals in the world. The carnival in Salvador is an explosion of color, music, and energy, and is considered one of the city’s most iconic events.

The carnival in Salvador takes place every year in the week leading up to Lent, usually in February or March. It is a time of celebration and joy, where locals and tourists come together to enjoy the festivities and dance the night away.

One of the highlights of the carnival in Salvador is the parade. The streets of the city come alive with the sound of drums, as different samba schools showcase their impressive dance routines and elaborate costumes. The parade is a spectacle to behold, with thousands of performers moving in sync to the rhythm of the music.

In addition to the parade, the carnival in Salvador offers a wide range of activities and events for visitors to enjoy. There are street parties, known as blocos, where people gather to dance and sing in the streets. There are also live music performances, featuring some of the biggest names in Brazilian music.

One of the unique features of the carnival in Salvador is the trio elétrico. This is a large truck equipped with a powerful sound system, where musicians perform live to large crowds. The trio elétrico moves through the streets, with people following and dancing along.

During the carnival, Salvador comes alive with a festive atmosphere. The city is decorated with colorful ornaments and lights, and the streets are filled with food stalls selling traditional Brazilian snacks and drinks.

If you’re planning a trip to Salvador, be sure to experience the carnival. It is a truly unique and unforgettable event that showcases the vibrant culture and spirit of the city.


What are the top tourist attractions in Salvador?

Some of the top tourist attractions in Salvador include Pelourinho, Farol da Barra, Mercado Modelo, Elevador Lacerda, and Praia do Forte.

Can you recommend any historical sites to visit in Salvador?

Yes, Salvador is rich in history and there are many historical sites to visit. Some of the must-visit historical sites in Salvador are Pelourinho, the historic center of the city, and the Elevador Lacerda, a historic elevator that connects the lower and upper parts of the city.

What is the best beach to visit in Salvador?

Praia do Forte is often considered one of the best beaches in Salvador. It is known for its crystal-clear waters, white sand, and beautiful natural surroundings. Visitors can also enjoy snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles in the nearby Tamar Project.

Are there any traditional markets in Salvador?

Yes, there is a traditional market called Mercado Modelo in Salvador. It is a great place to purchase locally crafted souvenirs, artwork, clothing, and traditional Brazilian products. The market is also a popular spot to try local food and drinks.

Is it worth visiting Farol da Barra?

Absolutely! Farol da Barra is a historic lighthouse located on a scenic promontory in Salvador. It offers spectacular views of the coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. The area around Farol da Barra is also a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax, sunbathe, and enjoy the beach.

What are the top-rated tourist attractions in Salvador?

Some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Salvador include the Pelourinho Historic Center, the Elevador Lacerda, the São Francisco Church and Convent, the Mercado Modelo, and the Farol da Barra Beach.

What can I see and do in the Pelourinho Historic Center?

The Pelourinho Historic Center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a glimpse into Salvador’s rich colonial history. You can wander through its colorful streets, visit stunning churches and historic buildings, enjoy live music and dance performances, shop for local crafts, and taste delicious Bahian cuisine.


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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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